Internationals’ Ambiguous Roles in Public Diplomacy

Internationals’ Ambiguous Roles in Public Diplomacy

  This is a second part of CB writing intern Omeed Aminian’s experience in the Republic of Moldova (find part one here). In this article he focuses on the intersection between international affairs and volunteers and exchange participants’ experiences abroad. Governments and associations use diplomacy to win over foreign populations and leaders. Citizen-to-citizen diplomacy focuses

 

Hotel Chisinau and Soviet Era Statue in Capital City

This is a second part of CB writing intern Omeed Aminian’s experience in the Republic of Moldova (find part one here). In this article he focuses on the intersection between international affairs and volunteers and exchange participants’ experiences abroad.

Governments and associations use diplomacy to win over foreign populations and leaders. Citizen-to-citizen diplomacy focuses on ordinary citizens from various countries meeting and exchanging information through programs such as the European Volunteer Service or Fulbright grants.

In my case, I became an ELF, or English Language Fellow, in 2013 and an independent emissary sent by the U.S. Embassy to Moldova’s largest northern university.

To live in Moldova, which many people have trouble locating on a map, was a rare opportunity. Working with locals who truly appreciate your presence in their homeland is invaluable. Helping students and teachers who often surpassed my own age and abilities matured me and broadened my perspectives.

Prime Minister Iurie Leancă, on the left, cuts the inaugural ribbon celebrating the arrival of a fleet of new eco-friendly and energy efficient trolleybuses, financed by a loan from the European Bank for Reconstruction a

Needless to say, my ambitions differed from the official line. The ELF program functions as one tool in the West’s, specifically the U.S.’s, public diplomacy strategy, which “aims to achieve foreign policy goals and objectives, advance national interests, and enhance national security.” The reason for sending ELFs, mostly to countries such as Moldova, was international affairs, i.e., “informing and influencing foreign publics and by expanding and strengthening the relationship between the people and Government of the United States and citizens of the rest of the world.”

Now, the saying goes, “you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.” While Russia sways Moldovans with the stick (see article in The Economist or New York Times), the U.S. and other Western nations attempt to attract countries through mostly beneficial programs provided by, for instance, the Office of English Language Programs. The government sends Americans to countries in need of English teaching professionals.

Nowadays, the methods have been mostly diplomatic for exerting influence in Moldova, and all along I knew my position as an envoy for U.S. foreign policy, even if I left for my own reasons, not to take part in a regional chess match between Moscow and Washington.

I explained to my students the nature of my job and the larger forces at work since I had almost complete autonomy in my work. The embassy sent an ELF to Bălți, Moldova for citizen-citizen diplomacy and I represented the office.

By intelligently analyzing their situation, internationals sent by a foreign government or association will often discover themselves mixed up in a regional tug-o’-war or grand design.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says hello to the children of employees at the U.S. Embassy in Chisinau, Moldova, during a visit to the country on December 4, 2013.

To counter my explicit involvement, I taught my classes with a critical eye toward all sides, focusing on the powers shaping international affairs and opinions through culture and the media. Nevertheless, I could not ignore the fact that I occupied a position of privilege and influence that already had an agenda.

Beyond all the tug and pull of politics, an underfunded university and impoverished community received a donation: a human being.

Traveling workers and volunteers should look at their positions critically, understanding all the factors that go into making their international experience a possibility. When joining an exchange or volunteer program, they can examine the organization’s objectives, internalize them and compare them to their own. Then they might discuss these goals with their local contacts, possibly discovering their desires as well. In this way, the project will be demystified for both the visitor and the host.

Omeed Aminian

Writer at Crossing Borders
My name is Omeed and I am from Seattle, USA, but my heritage is Iranian-American (halfsie!). I recently moved to Copenhagen to be with my partner and look for work as an English language professional. This internship is my first opportunity in Denmark.

Since graduating in 2011 with an MA in Teaching/English, I’ve been working at various faculties for English as a Second/Foreign Language. Most recently, I was an English Language Fellow in the Republic of Moldova, where I taught university students and worked with the local community.

My background in writing has mostly been in the form of teaching-related materials, travelogues while abroad and fiction/verse, so I’m really looking forward to this new experience. I am interested in global issues, as I am sure you all are, and I will be really curious to see what the fellow interns have to share!

http://crossingborders.dk/internationals-ambiguous-roles-in-public-diplomacy/
Please follow and like us:

RSS BIDD

  • Public Diplomacy: Toward a More “Diplomatic” World 17th Feb 2019
    tufts.edu, February 13, 2019; original article contains a video and photographs image from Alan K. Henrikson, the Lee E. Dirks Professor of Diplomatic History Emeritus and founding Director of Diplomatic Studies at The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University, was on hand at the American Center in Moscow at the U.S. Embassy, to […]
  • China tells world to ignore Mike Pence ‘lectures’ 17th Feb 2019
    Joel Gehrke, Washington Examiner, February 16, 2019 Yang Jiechi image from Wikipedia MUNICH — European leaders should disregard "lectures" from Vice President Mike Pence and other U.S. officials about Chinese encroachment into Europe, a top diplomat from the communist nation said Saturday. Pence — amplifying warnings by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo — told the […]
  • Heather Nauert Withdraws From Consideration For U.N. Ambassador 17th Feb 2019
    Emma Bowman, NPR, February 16; on Nauert, see below Image from entry, with caption: Department of State Spokesperson Heather Nauert withdrew herself from consideration for the nomination of U.S. ambassador to the U.N. on Saturday.State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert withdrew herself from consideration on Saturday for the nomination of U.S. ambassador to the United Nations."I […]
  • Blast from the Past: The Anti-Propaganda Tradition in the United States (2008) 15th Feb 2019
    Public Diplomacy Alumni Association Formerly USIA Alumni AssociationHome | Conduct of Public Diplomacy | Debate over Public Diplomacy | Public Diplomacy Newswire| Join/about PDAApublicdiplomacy.org; see also (1) (2)[JB note: Full text cannot be adequately formated on this blog] The post Blast from the Past: The Anti-Propaganda Tradition in the United States (2008) appeared first on […]
  • Public Diplomacy Small Grants Program: Supporting Projects in Malawi 15th Feb 2019
    www2.fundsforngos.org image (not from entry) from, with caption: U.S. Embassy Lilongwe Deadline OngoingThe Public Affairs Section (PAS) at the U.S. Embassy in Lilongwe, Malawi of the U.S. Department of State is pleased to announce that funding is available through its Public Diplomacy [JB emphasis] Small Grants Program.PAS awards a limited number of grants to individuals, […]

RSS Diplo Portal Belgrade

  • Представление программы бесплатного обучения в России 15th Feb 2019
    В Русском доме 13 февраля прошла презентация программы получения бесплатного высшего образования в вузах Российской Федерации. Потенциальные кандидаты смогли получить подробную информацию о условиях ежегодного конкурса на получение стипендий для бесплатного образования в России в рамках выделенных для граждан Сербии квот, который РЦНК проводит в январе-марте, а также информацию о том, как необходимо подавать документы, […]
  • Представљање програма бесплатног студирања у Русији 15th Feb 2019
    У Руском дому је 13. фебруара одржана презентација о програмима добијања бесплатног високог образовања на универзитетима Руске Федерације. Потенцијални кандидати су могли да добију детаљну информацију о условима годишњег конкурса за добијање стипендија за бесплатно образовање у Русији у оквиру квота, које су издвојене за српске држављане. Конкурс организује РЦНК од јануара до марта. Кандидати […]
  • Сербские старшеклассники в гостях у Русского Дома 15th Feb 2019
    13 февраля РЦНК Общество русско-сербско-белорусской дружбы из г.Смедерево организовало посещение РЦНК для группы старшеклассников и их преподавателей из г.Смедерево и г.Велика Плана. Для учеников это был первое знакомство с Русским Домом. Сотрудники РЦНК провели ознакомительную экскурсию и рассказали о истории создания и работе центра. В рамках визита сербские школьники смогли посетить открывшуюся в РЦНК выставку […]

Most Viewed Posts

  • Twitter Suspends Hamas Accounts (1,360)
    By ROBERT MACKEYLast Updated, Sunday, Jan. 19 | Several Twitter accounts used by the military wing of Hamas have been suspended by the social network in recent days, angering the Islamist militants and delighting Israel’s military. #Twitter has suspended the official account of #Hamas, a terrorist group that uses social media to threaten #Israel http://t.co/g1UxKc9fpf
  • Humanitarian Intervention: Advantages and Disadvantages in East Timor and Kosovo (391)
    Have There Been Occasions on Which the Advantages of Humanitarian Intervention Using Armed Force have Outweighed the Disadvantages? Humanitarian intervention can be defined as the attempts of a foreign state to prevent violations of human rights in another state, often through the use of armed force. The use of armed force to protect human rights,
  • Brain drain in Serbia today (389)
    How does the Serbian government cope with the problem of brain drain today? The latest OECD publication, SOPEMI 2014 shows that 39 thousand persons emigrated in 2012 from Serbia to OECD countries only. (At the beginning of the global economic and financial crisis, the emigration from Serbia to OECD countries amounted to 27,000 in 2008.)

How Belgrade based diplomats use Digital Diplomacy and Internet 2016

Diplo Portal Belgrade

Please follow and like us:
Scroll Up

Enjoy this blog? Please spread the word :)